Wave of protest as Zaha Hadid's Baku prizewinner causes controversy

By Oliver Wainwright

Heydar Aliyev centre described by judges as the ‘pinnacle moment’ in Hadid’s portfolio despite reports of forced evictions

A colossal cultural centre in Azerbaijan by the architect Zaha Hadid has been declared the Design of the Year by London’s Design Museum, despite concerns about the site’s human rights record.

Housing a museum, auditorium and multi-purpose hall within its undulating shell in the capital, Baku, the Heydar Aliyev centre was described by the judges as “the pinnacle moment” in Hadid’s portfolio, a piece of architecture that “should make us talk for years to come”. It beat off competition from an innovative school chair, a revolutionary eye examination app, and a futuristic piano keyboard.

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Source: Wave of protest as Zaha Hadid’s Baku prizewinner causes controversy


The art world takes on Russia's regressive LGBT laws at Manifesta 10

By Adrian Searle

From Nicole Eisenman’s sexual paintings to Bruce Nauman’s cat videos and numerous hints of Pussy Riot, the European art biennial takes place in St Petersburg this time and its artists have rebelled accordingly

The tourists are storming the Winter Palace and I wade through the hordes, looking for a room I cannot find. The attendants try to be helpful, when they’re not barking orders. I am looking for one of several works installed among the permanent collection of the palace’s Hermitage museum as part of Manifesta 10, the travelling European biennial that opened on Saturday in St Petersburg. “No photographs!” the attendants shout, as I sidle up to a lone painting by Gerhard Richter; “No touching!” as I approach a work by Joseph Beuys.

“No looking!” they might as well have added, as I come across one of American artist Nicole Eisenman’s rumbustious, cartoonish paintings. This one depicts two women in bed, having sex. We can’t see much, apart from raised legs, the back one woman’s head, clenched hands and a slumbering cat. This sort of thing isn’t allowed in Russia nowadays.

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Source: The art world takes on Russia’s regressive LGBT laws at Manifesta 10


What is the painting of Charles Saatchi throttling Nigella Lawson really saying?

By Jonathan Jones

Stuckist painter Darren Udaiyan meant to poke fun at the art dealer. But this tasteless painting of a grisly assault has badly backfired

When photographs of Charles Saatchi apparently throttling Nigella Lawson were published in 2013, the public outrage they unleashed left the former Conservative party advertising man vilified and divorced. Saatchi is now best known as a celebrity chef’s former husband and as a man who was violent towards a woman in public.

It must come almost as a relief to him to be mocked as the man who “throttles” the art world.

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Source: What is the painting of Charles Saatchi throttling Nigella Lawson really saying?


Chris Milk: the digital artist making music videos fly into the future

By Simon Parkin

From Kanye West and the Johnny Cash Project to Beck and virtual reality, the video director and tech pinup whose mother taught him to code as a child has become a hero of the post-MTV age

When he was six, Chris Milk borrowed his grandfathers VHS camera and tried to recreate Michael Jacksons Thriller video in his backyard. Sensing the whisper of a calling, his mum sent him to summer camp at New York Institute of Tech where he learned to film music videos with other children (then played Frisbee and mini-golf all afternoon). I was shy so I was assigned the job of holding the boom mic, he says as he sits, ghosted by jetlag and squinting in the sunshine outside the Barbican centre in London. But he felt no frustration at being kept out of the directors chair. I was just happy to be at the party.

Less than two decades later, Milk found himself directing the party, when Kanye West asked him to make the video for his first single, All Falls Down. It was a technical marvel, with West singing into various reflective surfaces (the gleaming paintwork of a sports car, a pair of bling sunglasses) and absolutely no sign of any camera. It was an inspiring partnership, and the pair met again for the lavish Touch the Sky video, in which West plays Evel Kanyevel, a 1970s daredevil who launches himself skyhigh in a stars-and-stripes rocket in homage to the real Knievel.

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Source: Chris Milk: the digital artist making music videos fly into the future


Do You Know These 6 Facts About Laundry Detergent?


Doing the laundry is a simple, straightforward task for most people. However, have you actually thought about the chemicals contained in most laundry detergents? Most of this stuff doesn’t rinse out in the rinse, and can be absorbed into your body through your skin. Knowing what we are putting on our clothes, and in our body, can be incredibly important for protecting our health. Detergents, for example, contain chemicals that can contribute to skin irritation. Not only that, many commercial detergents may mimic hormones and disrupt endocrine function, a problem that influences reproduction, mood, and metabolism.

The Dangers of Laundry Detergent

The following 6 facts about laundry detergent may help you become more aware of the many hazardous ingredients contained in these cleaning agents, and may also give you some insight into better options for you and your family.

1. Surfactants Cause Skin Irritation

If you take a close look at the warning label on your favorite laundry detergent, you’ll notice that it urges you to avoid direct skin contact. Detergents work by removing oils from clothes, and that includes the natural oils produced by your own skin. Among other uses, our natural oils are necessary for protection against microbes.

Surfactants are the main agents that strip away oils, an action that can seriously irritate the skin and aggravate skin issues. [1] Rashes are common when the skin comes in direct contact with detergents, and some sensitive individuals may break out after wearing clothes that have been washed with conventional surfactant-containing detergents. [2]Respiratory problems may also result from regular exposure to these chemicals. [3]

2. Many are Endocrine Disruptors

In today’s world where toxins run wild and the use of man-made chemicals affect practically every area of life, it’s no wonder that we’re witnessing a surge of hormone-related issues that plague both women and men. Researchers have found that detergents can disrupt endocrine function and interfere with hormone balance. [4]

Many chemicals in common household cleaning products act as xenoestrogens, or synthetic estrogens, which increase the amount of estrogen-like activity in the human body. [5] This can negatively affect fertility in males and increase breast cancer risk in females. [6][7] Hormone imbalance also contributes to an extensive range of problems including heart disease, depression, and mental impairment. [8][9]

3. They’re Bad for the Environment

After the final rinse, that stuff goes down the drain… into the environment. The effect of laundry detergent on the environment is undeniable, and it’s only within the last few years that we are seeing the toll it’s taking on animal and plant life. Most detergents run into the water supply and have been shown to interfere with aquatic life. This stuff is not natural and many plants and animals cannot process the chemicals contained in these products. Producing and distributing laundry detergent already carries a heavy carbon footprint. Sodium triphosphate, which is …read more

Source: Do You Know These 6 Facts About Laundry Detergent?


Glory of the gutter: Dougie Wallace's photos of Blackpool stag and hen dos

By Jonathan Jones

An expensive book of photos of very drunk people whooping it up in Blackpool is an odd thing but then wallowing in ugliness has long been photography’s business

Blackpool’s wildest stag and hen parties in pictures

We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars, according to Oscar Wilde. Well, fine, Mr Wilde. But some of us prefer looking around the gutter, like photographer Dougie Wallace, who is also known as Glasweegie.

Not that I am calling Blackpool a gutter. But it’s a bracingly real and raw theatre of British existence; on that we can agree. And in his new book, Stags, Hens and Bunnies, a collection of ripely coloured photographs of stag and hen parties in the renowned northwestern seaside city, Wallace revels in its down-to-earth thrills.

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Source: Glory of the gutter: Dougie Wallace’s photos of Blackpool stag and hen dos


Bunnies and blow-up willies: Blackpool's wildest stag and hen parties in pictures

By Guardian Staff

Mankinis, St Trinian’s girls, and bunnies galore … Dougie Wallace’s eye-opening photos of stag and hen parties on the razz in Blackpool have got it all

Glory of the gutter: Dougie Wallace’s photos of Blackpool stag and hen dos

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Source: Bunnies and blow-up willies: Blackpool’s wildest stag and hen parties in pictures


Bridge East London: could Eastenders finally get this 'crucial missing link'?

By Oliver Wainwright

Debated for the past 70 years, the plan for a bridge in east London has been subject to endless delays and inquiries. Now it’s being called a no-brainer. Is the time finally right?

It was first suggested in 1943, as part of Patrick Abercrombie’s London Plan. Then it was seriously proposed in 1979, before being subjected to a lengthy public inquiry, redesigned, subjected to a further inquiry, approved in 1991, cancelled in 1993, revived in 2002, subjected to another inquiry in 2005 and finally cancelled again in 2008. Like some undead infrastructural zombie, consigned to an eternal purgatory of being trampled and resurrected, the long-debated plan for a road bridge across the Thames in east London has once again been relaunched. Will it fare any better this time?

It feels like there might finally be enough momentum to make it happen, says Kat Hanna from the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the latest body to launch a plan for a bridge between Thamesmead and Beckton at Gallions Reach, linking Greenwich and Newham. There are 22 crossings west of Tower Bridge, but only two to the east where more than half of London’s population already lives, and where most of the growth in housing and jobs is going to come from over the coming decades. The current infrastructure is at breaking point, relying on the bottlenecks of the Blackwall and Rotherhithe tunnels.

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Source: Bridge East London: could Eastenders finally get this ‘crucial missing link’?